Bulls

Treadwell lifts Warriors to 6A Championship

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Treadwell lifts Warriors to 6A Championship

By Bill Harrison
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CHAMPAIGN -- If there was any doubt that Crete-Monee senior Laquon Treadwell should be in the conversation as one of the best all-time players in Illinois history, it was put to rest Saturday afternoon in Champaign.

Treadwell, who has narrowed his college choices down to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Michigan, Michigan State, and Ole Miss, looked like a men amongst boys during his teams 33-26 Class 6A state title win over Cary-Grove.

Its my preparation,said Treadwill, who had two touchdowns--one on a 69-yard run, the other a 57-yard pass from Marcus Terrell. The way I train helps this game become very instinctive to me.

The wide receiversafetykicker had 178 all-purpose yards, including six catches for 85 yards and six rushes for 93 yards. His biggest play, however, occurred on defense in the third quarter when he intercepted a pass following a fumble recovery by the Trojans on the Warriors 26-yard line.

The Trojans had just pulled to within four at 20-16, but the Warriors scored one play later on a 52-yard pass to Lance Lenoir from Terrell.

All of that accomplished with the Trojans knowing Treadwell, who tied two of his teammates for a game-high 12 tackles, was the player they needed to stop if they wanted to win the schools second-ever state title.

He made some plays weve never seen people make before, Cary-Grove second-year coach Brad Seaburg said. The interception that he made in the third quarter was unbelievable. He was up at the line of scrimmage and jumped underneath our out route and made the play. Hes unbelievable.

Treadwell wasnt done. On the ensuing kickoff he was the first gunner down and made a solo tackle for no gain, garnering an overwhelming cheer from the crowd, leaving them to wonder, What else can he do?

There was still more left for Treadwell to do, and he again obliged.

After the Trojans pulled within the final score with 3-minutes left, Treadwell stepped up and recovered the onside kick. His final contribution was a pair of bone-crushing hits on two incomplete passes on the Trojans final drive.

Hes been making big plays since he was a sophomore, Crete-Monee coach Jerry Verde said. Thats what kind of kid he is.

The Warriors sniffed playoff success in 2009 and 2010 when they advanced to the state quarterfinals.The aroma of being a state champion now wafts through the hallways of Crete-Monee for the first time in school history.

This state title will be forever remembered as the one that was brought to them by Treadwell, clearly the best player in school history who provided one of the best overall individual performances in state championship history.

Bulls Talk Podcast: Will Kris Dunn build off career night?

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USA TODAY

Bulls Talk Podcast: Will Kris Dunn build off career night?

On this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast, Mark Schanowski, Kendall Gill, and Kevin Anderson react to a breakout game from Kris Dunn against the Hornets Friday night. They’ll discuss his development and how it impacts rookie Lauri Markkanen. Plus just how long will both the Wolves and Bulls be judged on the Jimmy Butler trade? Is Dwight Howard a hall of famer? And a new era in Philly with Simmons and Embiid. That and more on this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast.

Observations from Bulls-Hornets: Kris Dunn, a sigh of relief and hack-a-who?

Observations from Bulls-Hornets: Kris Dunn, a sigh of relief and hack-a-who?

Kris Dunn did it: You can’t play that position without an edge, without some form of “basketball killer” in you. Kris Dunn showed at the very least, he has that in his DNA in his best game as a Bull with a career-high 22 points, seven assists and five rebounds.

Leave it to Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg to point out a forgotten stat: one turnover in 26 minutes.

“That’s the biggest thing I’m proud of,” Dunn said. “Everyone knows I’ve had a lot of careless turnovers in the season. It’s one thing I’ll take credit for.”

Dunn scored 13 with six assists in the fourth quarter alone as the Bulls outscored the Hornets 40-28 for the comeback victory. More than anything, it was his competitive spirit and aggressiveness that stood out. Kemba Walker stood across the way and gave Dunn—and the Bulls—every bit of 47 points.

“He tested my conditioning, for sure,” Dunn admitted. “He’s a great player. He’s been in the league for so long. It was good to go out there and compete with him.”

It could’ve went a different way had Walker not been bothered by Lauri Markkanen’s challenge at the rim, blowing a layup that would’ve given the Hornets the lead back with seconds remaining but he missed it and the narrative changed at least for a night.

And when teams are talking about learning experiences, it’s good to have them in a win every now and again. Markkanen’s challenge at the rim followed by his closing free throws right after, along with a quietly effective 16 points and seven rebounds, proved huge on this night.

Dunn finally having a confidence booster was imperative.

Dunn scored but it wasn’t an easy 20 or a smooth 20. It was an attacking 20, a necessary 20. He did hit some elbow jumpers, especially in the fourth as the defense laid off him.

But his biggest basket was a slithering drive to the rim for a layup with 2:24 left, because he attacked and was under control.

“That’s huge growth for Kris,” Hoiberg said. “He made the right play darn near every time he had the ball in his hands. Rose up with confidence, knocked down huge shots. Defensively got them going, got steals.”

What a relief: Nobody wanted to say it, but it bore out on the floor, the sheer desperation the Bulls played with.

Coming in with a five-game losing streak and headed out west to for four games in the next week, they were staring in the face of a possible double-digit losing streak to end November.

Confidence was sparse after three bad losses, and it’s a dangerous time for a team that will struggle to win games all season.

The United Center crowd got into it, particularly late when the Bulls began climbing back into contention to start the fourth quarter. The fans wanted this win too, even with the eyes being on a larger prize coming in mid-2018.

The relief was written all over Hoiberg’s usually-stress ridden face and he even cracked a couple jokes that weren’t aimed in his direction, as self-deprecation is normally his escape of choice.

“It is important but I asked the guys: is it hard to play with that type of effort? When you play with that type of energy and effort and swagger, it’s fun,” Hoiberg said. “When you play low energy and hang your head, it’s a drag. It’s hard to play at this level with that mentality.”

Starting change: Justin Holiday returned after his quick leave with his wife delivering a baby girl recently and his game-high 27 points showed he missed the Bulls as much as they missed his shooting, hitting four triples and going 10 for 15 from the field.

“Guys were serious about getting their jobs done,” Holiday said. “It was a lot of energy, a lot of energy, competitiveness. That’s how we have to play every night for our team to do well.”

Denzel Valentine, although he didn’t want to say it, wants to be a starter. Hoiberg chose Quincy Pondexter over him recently and then made the change Friday to insert Valentine for more scoring.

Valentine scored 18 with six assists and five rebounds in 32 minutes of run—and with those two starting as scoring options, the Bulls surpassed that seven-point first-quarter mark really early and scored 26 overall.

He hit a big triple in the fourth with 2:49 left to give the Bulls a 110-109 lead on a set play the Bulls actually executed between Valentine, Dunn as a setup man and Robin Lopez as a screen to pop Valentine open.

If he continues to hit 3-pointers at a 40 percent clip, especially with the way the Bulls have struggled to start games, he’ll have the right to feel he belongs in the first five.

“It’s definitely more confidence,” Valentine said. “You feel you’re an NBA starter, you get to go in and feel it out for a second and bring some energy to start the game.”

He didn’t mince words about starting, with a little honesty saying, “I think it’s huge being a starter.”

When asked if he felt validated by his performance and the result being a high-scoring win, it was just as telling.

“I think I deserve…I think I deserved a starting role,” Valentine said. “At the same time it’s different combinations, different people that need to be on the floor at certain times, so if he feels like I don’t need to start, I won’t start. But I feel very comfortable starting as well.”

Hack-a-Dwight: It could be Hack-a-Dwight, hack-a-Drummond, hack-a-Wilt or Shaq or Charles Shackleford.

The Bulls went to it and Howard went two of four from the line but it took a little rhythm from the Hornets and probably slowed Kemba Walker down just enough before he got cooking in the last 90 seconds and almost pulled a win out of his keister.

But…

I hate it. Get it out of the game completely.